The Digital Ecosystem

A 21st century approach to building a strategic digital content infrastructure should include a plan for sustainability that reflects the values of community effort, is built on technological innovation, and encourages reusability and openness.

Sustainability requires a holistic view that considers far more than just the technological tools. The digital content infrastructure includes an understanding the sources and uses of the digital content, policies to guide decisions, engagement with a broader community of curators and content users, as well as digital experts, and shared technology platforms and tools. The combination of these four essential components creates the coherent infrastructure for a sustainable digital ecosystem. 

Digital content The digital content that YDC2 works with includes cultural heritage data, images, audio, video, and metadata in support of research, teaching, and learning. Our focus on content includes processes and tools for digital capture, management, and preservation; asset storage; and dissemination.

Technology that supports digital content traditionally has been built and supported in separate systems across the campus. Our goal is to increase interaction between systems, offer shared solutions where possible, and provide aggregation for cultural heritage digital content so it can be more easily found and used. 

The creation and uptake of shared policies and practice in such areas as intellectual property management and descriptive metadata are essential components of the ecosystem to guide decisions and maintain consistency.

The Community of practitioners and experts are in the museums, the Arts Area Schools, and on emerging initiatives of the Collections Study Center on West Campus and includes creators of digital content who are managing digital resources throughout campus departments.  Brought together, we create partnerships and increased capacity based on common needs and goals.

Principles

Certain core principles unite and inform the work of YDC2 in building sustainable digital ecosystems.

Community

Part of YDC2's mission is to engage Yale's community of cultural heritage digital creators and stewards in the development of a vision for a coherent digital content environment for cultural heritage information.

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Digital Information Architecture

The ecosystem metaphor recognizes the diversity inherent in the university technology environment and the need to continuously maintain balance and flexibility in a diverse and rapidly evolving landscape. An ecological approach accounts for variation and interdependency, and recognizes that information management systems always exist at varying levels of development from legacy systems to emergent technologies. In contrast, an architectural approach uses rational design processes to gather requirements, design functionality, and implement technical solutions to meet the goals of the institution.

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Sustainability

Sustainability requires a holistic view that considers far more than just the technological tools. These include an understanding the sources and uses of the digital content, developing policies to guide decisions, engaging with a broader community of curators and content users, as well as digital experts, and shared technology platforms and tools. The combination of these four essential components creates the coherent infrastructure for a sustainable digital ecosystem.